Piece of metal crashing through Target in Knightdale sparks fears of explosion

The piece of metal from the wood grinder. Photo by Beau Minnick/WNCN

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) — Bricks were falling from the ceiling at a Target in Knightdale. There was an extremely loud noise.

Some worried an explosion had just occurred.

As details emerged, the incident at the store on Saturday turned out to be equally dangerous, but also somewhat more mysterious.

The area near the Knightdale Target where the piece of metal came off a large wood mulching machine. Photo by Beau Minnick/WNCN
The area near the Knightdale Target where the piece of metal came off a large wood mulching machine. Photo by Beau Minnick/WNCN

On Saturday afternoon, a piece of metal pierced the roof of the store and landed inside in the shopping cart storage area, officials said.

The incident, which happened just after 4 p.m., scared many people in the store at 1000 Shoppes at Midway Drive. A 911 page went out that there was an explosion, the incident was so loud.

A worker at the Target first told WNCN that something “piled up on the roof” and caused a hole, which then broke the roof. The force of the roof breaking caused the loud noise that people thought was an explosion, the worker explained soon after the incident was reported.

Later, when fire crews started investigating, they found a large piece of metal, weighing up to 8 pounds, crashed through the roof.

One theory from fire crews was that it fell from a plane. But, after some investigating, that turned out not to be the case.

So, where did the “large piece of metal” come from?

It was a “tooth” from a very large industrial wood chipper that was involved in mulching wood about 900 feet away, officials said.

The piece, which was about the size of a brick and weighs between 5 and 8 pounds, came off the mulching equipment with such force, it flew through the air — landing 3 football fields away.

No one was hurt.

This isn’t the first time a piece from a wood chipper or “grinder” has come loose and traveled to crash through a roof.

A Google search turned up several instances over the last several years across the country. In 2013 in Bothell, Wash., a piece landed in a man’s home. In 2009, a large “tooth” from a mulching machine landed on a Jersey City warehouse.

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